‘At EaseMyTrip, we are happy to be fully primed’
BENGALURU : Easy Trip Planners Ltd, which operates the EaseMyTrip travel platform, crossed a market cap of $ 1 billion during intraday trading on Friday. He closed the trading day with a market cap of around $ 955 million (approx. ??7045 crores). The rise in its share price came just days after the company announced plans to expand internationally in the Philippines, Thailand and the United States.
In an interview, EaseMyTrip’s Rikant Pitti insisted that as the travel segment continues to recover from the grip of covid-19, the company also aims to expand into new international markets. Edited excerpts:
What are the key factors that pushed you towards a “unicorn” valuation while being bootstrap?
We believe that many factors played a key role in helping us reach the position we find ourselves in today. Most of the players in the industry have been made profitable through additional convenience fees. We viewed convenience fees as a tool to retain customers and have never charged a convenience fee since its inception. Despite this, we have maintained our profitability year after year. We were also clear from the start that we wanted to attract customers through our value-driven services rather than our marketing efforts. In an industry that is experiencing exorbitant private equity funding, we are happy to be fully primed.
How do you plan to expand into new markets and what will be your operational objective?
This is the second phase of our global expansion strategy, as we have already established our presence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore and the United Kingdom. We want to establish our airline ticketing business in these new countries (Philippines, Thailand and United States) and anticipate huge pent-up global demand for the travel and tourism industry in the coming months. As part of this new phase of expansion, we plan to launch a localized travel search engine in each global branch to enable customers in the region to take advantage of EaseMyTrip’s value-added services. The search engine developed for the United Arab Emirates is operational and we intend to open two more websites by December.
These subsidiaries will continue to operate as low cost hubs where we have hired a few talented people in the respective countries to connect with local partners, local airlines, as well as local payment gateways. We will compete on the basis of price in these geographies as we will be able to offer tickets at a much better price.
Do we see you entering new geographies by next year?
We aim for rapid growth in our international markets.
However, as we are a profitable company, we will review the performance of our subsidiaries in these six international locations and then call for future steps for expansion. We could consider expanding into more viable countries if we see strong performance and added value from our existing subsidiaries.
In line with your expansion plans, do you expect to incur any short-term losses for your business?
We have always had a profitable quarter and want to maintain that history.
What do you think are your main areas of growth over the next 12 to 24 months?
We aim to continue the record growth in the vertical airline ticketing industry with increased revenue margins and market share. While air travel bookings make up around 95% of our revenue, we are also growing our non-air travel business, including hotels, buses, trains and vacations, in double digits.
The company plans to focus heavily on its hotel and vacation package business and expand into existing markets. We will seek to improve revenue and profitability by leveraging our existing customer base for cross-selling. We also plan to leverage our extensive agent network and use it for vacation bookings, which will complement the company’s hotel and vacation business.
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